Issue Date: September 1992
Story Title: Portals of Power, part 1: The Mutant Agenda
Staff: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Mike Manley (artist), Kevin Tinsley (colorist), John Heebink & Aaron McClellan (inking assistants), Bill Oakley (letterer), Nelson Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Toad informs his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - of their next plan - to steal some armor that will give them greater power in the battle against the X-Men. However, that armor, which looks like the Darkhawk armor, is stolen from a research facility by its owner, Portal, who is then forced to engage several armored Guardsmen in combat. Chris Powell is working at his intern job at a radio station when he hears word of the battle - and learns of who is involved - a man that he desperately needs to talk to. He transforms into Darkhawk, and flies to the scene of the battle. At the same time, Peter Parker is once again arguing with J Jonah Jameson, when he too learns of the battle, so he makes his way there. But the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants arrives first. They take down the Guardsmen with relative ease, but in the melee, Portal tries to escape. Darkhawk arrives and confronts the Brotherhood, but he is overwhelmed by Sauron - luckily, Spider-Man arrives to assist. Blob tracks down Portal and discovers that he is a mutant. Before he can capture Portal, Portal shoots at the floor beneath the Blob, causing him to fall several stories down. Portal sees that Darkhawk and Spider-Man are trying to help him, but decides to leave anyway - but decides to return, and saves Darkhawk from Sauron. However, the Blob returns and rescues his teammates. They escape in a car. Portal wants to leave, but Darkhawk tries to talk to him, to get information from him about the armor they both wear. Portal agrees to spend time with Darkhawk, only Sleepwalker arrives, claiming that the armor belongs to him! Meanwhile, in Queens, a mysterious man who apparently once wore the Darkhawk armor is plagued by a haunting voice.
‘Hear me, my Brotherhood! I have found the key to destroying out enemies!’ Toad exclaims, slobber dripping between his teeth. ‘Tell us what it is, Toad! My heart cries out for sweet vengeance on all those of X-affiliation!’ the winged Sauron screeches as he hovers over his teammates. The mysterious Phantazia tells Sauron to stop flitting about and to listen, while Blob holds up a large shard of metal and points out that they have been sitting too long. ‘We owe those think-they’re-better-than-us hero-types heavy pain!’ he declares. Pyro releases bursts of flames at the metal shard and agrees, adding that when Toad has something interesting enough to tell them, they will settle down and listen.
Tapping away at a computer console, Toad shouts ‘Enough! This is why we were beaten before - because you allowed yourselves to be diverted - from our true goal!’ Toad then leaps onto the Blob and once again shouts ‘Enough!’ as a substance flows from his hands into Blob’s eyes. ‘Get that gunk outta my eyes, Toad! Pyro’s gonna burn me!’ Blob shouts. ‘Not anymore, he’s not!’ Phantazia declares as she materializes behind Pyro and disrupts his flame-throwers and ability to manipulate the flame. ‘Bleeding witch!’ Pyro complains, before Toad returns to the console, and thanks Phantazia for her assist. Sauron, Blob and Pyro all calm down and stand to attention, as Toad refers to the city of New York, which appears on the monitors, as does a headshot of the young hero called Darkhawk. ‘There in the city of New York…is our key to vengeance…power…and much, much more!’ he claims.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, the Madison Avenue brownstone that houses the labs of Crestmore Research, where several scientists are examining some weapons. ‘Amazing…simply amazing!’ one of the male scientists gasps. ‘Quit admiring the stuff and let’s get cracking on our investigation of it. It’s due back at the Vault in a few hours’ the other male scientist points out. The female scientist announces that she doesn’t like having the stuff here, and that if Crestmore didn’t have ultra-spectograph equipment that she needs, she would as soon be checking these weapons out at their Genetech base. ‘Beggars can’t be choosers, Dr Lutwin’ the second male scientist replies, before the first suggests that this could be the opportunity of their careers.
Dr Lutwin suddenly realizes that parts of this hardware looks like the Darkhawk armor, or whatever it is. ‘I wonder what his relation to the guy they got this stuff from is? What did he call himself - Portal?’ she remarks.
Dr Lutwin pulls out a laser knife and switches it to optimal frequency, when suddenly, a portal opens, and through it, a man on a motor cycle emerges and shouts ‘STOP!’. Dr Lutwin and the two male scientists turn in surprise, before the man announces that he was Charles Little Sky, but now he is Portal. ‘And that is my property - ripped from the clenched teeth of death - that you were about to take liberties with!’ he exclaims before throwing several vials of gas towards the scientists, who collapse. Portal declares that the gas will merely put them to sleep, adding that he has no desire to hurt them - yet. He shatters the ultra-spectograph, and declares that he is again truly master of his own fate. He picks up some of the weapons as well as the Darkhawk-look-alike mask, then places it on his head.
‘Once I have my full equipment on -’ Portal begins, but several armored Guardsmen descend upon him. ‘You won’t get that chance, Little Sky!’ one of them shouts, while another asks him if he thought the government would leave his doohickie unprotected, especially when those duds make perfect bait to get him back. ‘I never did you or your government any harm!’ Portal replies, before firing his weapon, which takes down several of the Guardsmen at once, as one of them exclaims ‘Maybe not - but lots of harm went down because of you!’ Portal replies that he just wants to be left alone. ‘Right’ one of the Guardsmen mutters, before an explosion sends Portal crashing through a window and forcing him onto the street below.
‘Yeah! Jerry got him from behind!’ one of the Guardsmen shouts. The fall has shaken Portal, and he decides that he should open a portal and escape - but he knows he can’t leave without the armor, and won’t. ‘Don’t make us hurt you, Little Sky!’ one of the Guardsmen shouts. ‘We all do what we must, Sir!’ Portal replies, while, up above, a news station’s chopper has seen the battle, and reports ‘…there’s more than just traffic on the streets of Manhattan today, Traci…as a battle has erupted between a half-dozen of the government’s “Iron Men” - the Guardsmen - and a young man they refer to as “Little Sky”, the announcer reports to news station host, Traci.
At the station, Traci smiles and replies ‘That’s incredible, Mal!’, while Mal announces that people are scattering for cover as the battle threatens to et ugly. In a corridor nearby, Chris Powell marches down the hall, unhappy, he repeats what Traci had earlier said to him: “Get my chamomile tea, Chris…and fast!”, and decides that she can’t boss him around, even if he is an intern, and she is the most popular rock jock in the city. Carrying the tea, Chris decides that he after he botched up the whole hostage thing as Darkhawk and let Dr Vonya get killed, maybe this is the only kind of work he is cut out for.
Chris enters the sound booth, where Traci is announcing a recap: ‘There’s heavy action going down on East Thirty-Eighth Street as Feds battle a psycho called “Little Sky”. The Police are advising everybody to stay out of that area until things are under control’. ‘Little Sky?’ Chris gasps, realizing that Traci must be talking about Charles Little Sky - Portal. He suddenly spills the tea - all over Traci, who reports that the station will be going to some important messages, before getting out of her chair, she snaps ‘Powell!’, but Chris turns and claims that he needs some air all of a sudden, as he rushes out of the booth.
Rushing down the corridor, Chris reminds himself that Portal had armor and that some of it was like Darkhawk’s, and that he claimed he killed however he got it from in self-defense, and that he knew nothing about where it came from or who made it. But, Portal got away before Chris could ask him more, as he wanted to see if he was hiding anything. Entering the back room, Chris discovers that it is empty, while remembering that the government took Portal’s armor, he decides that he has to get there and talk top Portal alone. Chris summons up his Darkhawk armor, then launches himself out of the window with his claw-cable, while back in the sound booth, Traci apologizes to listeners for the abrupt shift to commercials, she remarks that it would seem some little boys can’t keep it cool in tough situations. ‘Some people just don’t know the meaning of responsibility’ she adds.
Meantime, at the Daily Bugle, ‘What do you mean I’m not paying you enough, Parker?’ snaps J Jonah Jameson, who starts shaking his finger at Peter and adds ‘You’ve got a responsibility to the public to take the best pictures you can - no matter what the price. Where’s your professional integrity?’ Jameson asks. ‘Look under your heel, Jonah’ Peter replies. ‘I don’t want to threaten, but -’ Peter begins, when suddenly, someone enters and reports that there is a rumble on Thirty-Eighth - that Portal guy against a bunch of Guardsmen. ‘What?’ Peter gasps, before Jameson tells him that if he gets picture of that, then the dollar-a-photo raise is his. ‘Thank you, Mr generosity’ Peter replies, while thinking to himself, that even if he was going on a one-man strike, he would go to investigate the battle anyway, as part of his other job.
Shortly, Spider-Man swings through the city, recalling that Portal has fought Darkhawk, Captain America and Daredevil, but according to the accounts, no one could tell if Portal was really a bad guy or not. ‘I’ll ask him…after I’ve got him securely webbed up’ Spider-Man decides.
A few blocks away, one of the Guardsmen captures Portal in an electro-net, deciding that it ought to hold him, while inside the net, Portal is not able to concentrate enough to open an escape portal. He realizes he is trapped, when suddenly, ‘Not necessarily, young man!’ Sauron declares as he swoops down and after thanking Phantazia for disrupting the electric field, he tears the net apart, setting Portal free. The Brotherhood all gather around, as Sauron suggests they protect this poor, persecuted soul from the armored criminals. ‘In other words - let’s rumble’ Blob shouts. ‘That’s what we like, Blobbo!’ Pyro exclaims as he directs flame from his flame-thrower at one of the Guardsmen, knocking him backwards. The Blob slams a car into another, of the Guardsmen, while Phantazia stands her ground against weapons fire from her opponent, and the Toad leaps about dodging blasts.
Portal examines the goings-on and tells himself that he needs a few seconds to recover, before realizing that whoever his “saviors” are, he fears they mean him no less harm than the Guardsmen do. ‘Your armor may protect you from some things, my friend - but I’ll wager the metal can bend father than your neck!’ Sauron exclaims as he lifts one of the Guardsmen into the air, and breaks his neck. ‘Resin really clogs up those eye and mouth holes, doesn’t it?’ Toad exclaims as he leaps onto one of the Guardsmen and releases the grime into his helmet. ‘Makes it hard to maneuver, I would think’ Toad adds, as the Guardsman falls over. ‘Fare thee well, friend Guardsman’ Toad declares, before Phantazia shouts ‘Enough! We have an agenda!’ and she uses her powers to disrupt the armor functions of the surviving Guardsmen so they can get on with their plan.
Phantazia’s cloak spills outwards and the remaining Guardsman fall over, while Portal decides that he has got to risk it and escape, as he may never get a shot like this at the armor again. Taking the helmet, he races into a nearby building. ‘Hey - that G’s still breathing!’ the Blob calls out, and making his way up some stairs, Portal thinks to himself ‘Let them kill each other - what do I care?’ The Blob decides to take care of the remaining Guardsman, when suddenly, ‘Sorry foilks - no more killing today!’ Darkhawk declares as he drops down between the Brotherhood and the Guardsmen. ‘Hey! It’s “the mysterious Darkhawk”!’ the Blob mocks, while Pyro jokes that he is trembling. Darkhawk glides down towards them, and they both fall over, while Darkhawk dodges some flame released by Pyro and tells them they can be scared or not, but that they should just give up, he won’t care.
‘Tough talk, hero!’ Sauron declares as he swoops over and grabs Darkhawk, pulling him sideways, Sauron reveals that Darkhawk could be as useful to them as Little Sky. ‘First though, my hypnotic gaze must make you more easily persuaded to help us!’ Sauron exclaims as he starts to hypnotize the young hero, but Darkhawk thinks to himself that he can’t be mind-controlled again, not after last time. Suddenly, Spider-Man swings down and kicks Sauron in the back, ‘Thirty-Eighth Street - last stop - everybody off!’ Spider-Man jokes, as Sauron flutters off balance, and Darkhawk is pleased to see his ally. However, Sauron regains his flight, and tears through Spider-Man’s webbing with ease. ‘Hardly anybody can do that’ Spider-Man tells himself as he starts to fall downwards, wishing that he thought of some better last words.
However, Darkhawk glides over and rescues Spider-Man, using his claw-cable, grabs onto a nearby building top, he lands. ‘Gotcha, Spidey!’ Darkhawk exclaims. ‘Noted - and appreciated’ Spider-Man replies, before pointing out that they have other problems now, as Pyro moves towards them. ‘That ye do, mates - that ye do!’ Pyro exclaims, surrounding them in flame. ‘We can still beat ‘em, Hawkie’ Spider-Man assures Darkhawk, although he is not sure how.
Inside the building, Portal has put all of his armor on, ‘Yes! My armor is finally mine again - my life is mine to control once again!’ he tells himself, and starts to open another portal, only for the Blob to appear behind him, and punches him in the back, ‘You ain’t going nowhere, punk!’ the Blob exclaims, and the portal starts to close. ‘Much as I enjoyed killed those Guardsmen creeps - you’re the reason we did it’ the Blob explains. ‘What do you want from me?’ Portal asks as he falls to the floor. ‘Yer duds…the ones what open those dimensional doors…and instructions how to use ‘em!’ the Blob replies. ‘The armor doesn’t do it -’ Portal begins, to which the Blob smiles and asks ‘You mean…yer a mutie - like me? We’re gonna be good pals’.
Meantime, in Queens, specifically the abandoned amusement park where Chris Powell first found the Darkhawk amulet, a dishevelled man collapses in front of the funhouse, shouting that he is sorry he ever became a Darkhawk, sorry he ever had the power for even a short time as it is a curse. ‘Is there any way I can be spared?’ he shouts. A voice suddenly calls out ‘Betray Powell…deliver him to me…and the terrors in your mind will stop’. But the man replies that he won’t, so the voice tells him to suffer, now and forever.
At that moment: ‘No! I won’t let you use me! I don’t need you or your friends!’ I don’t need anybody!’ Portal declares as he blasts his weapon towards the Blob, who lumbers forward, ‘That cosmic pea-shooter almost hurt me, kid - I’m gonna have to take it’ the Blob declares, but before he can reach Portal, Portal directs the weapon at the floor beneath them, and shouts ‘Maybe it can’t hurt you - but the floor’s another thing!’, and as the floor gives way, the Blob falls through the next two floors below. Glancing out a window, Portal sees that Darkhawk and Spider-Man are still trapped in flame. ‘They saved me - can I do any less for them?’ he asks himself, before deciding ‘Forget it, Charles. They are the self-styled heroes…the rest of us must survive as best we can’. He then opens a portal, which will take him far from here, and steps into it.
‘This flame’s getting serious, Hawk!’ Spider-Man exclaims, while Darkhawk asks the Brotherhood what they want. ‘From Spider-Man, a gruesome death’ll do. From you - any teleporting gimmicks your armor has - and then the gruesome death!’ Pyro declares. Suddenly, ‘How about - neither!’ Darkhawk declares as he courageously flies through the flame, and grabs the flamethrower on Pyro’s back, pushing Pyro along with it, he uses his force-shield to wreck the flame-thrower jets. Suddenly, Sauron appears and wraps his mouth around Darkhawk’s shoulders, ‘You are mine again, Hawk - and now -’ Sauron begins, before suddenly, an energy blast strikes Sauron in the back, and e collapses. ‘You all right, Hawk?’ Portal asks standing over Sauron, large gun raised above him.
‘Yes…and thanks…’ Darkhawk tells Portal, before turning to Phantazia and Toad and telling Portal and Spider-Man that the odds look pretty good - the three of them against these two. ‘Make that one’ Darkhawk adds as he releases a blast of energy which takes Phantazia down. ‘And that one - in total - hops real good, exudes sticky stuff from his fingers…and has a real bad attitude’ Darkhawk declares, before he, Portal and Spider-Man close in on Toad and he tells him to give it up. Suddenly, ‘Whoa - look out!’ Spider-Man exclaims as his spider-sense goes off, as Blob, driving a car, with the roof torn off, towards them. ‘“She came in through the bathroom window” is the rest of that lyric, Webs!’ the Blob calls out, while Darkhaw, Spider-Man and Portal all leap for safety.
As he leans out of the car and picks up Pyro, remarking ‘But that’s all the pop-culture lessons you’re getting from Fred J Dukes, today!’, and he tells Toad to hop on before the two-bit heroes recover. Toad grabs Sauron and Phantazia and pulls them into the car. Portal begins firing at the car, but the Blob is driving too fast. Darkhawk tells the others to get back, as he sees Pyro has recovered, and Pyro sets a parked car alight, which then explodes. Spider-Man announces that he is still woozy from the heat, and tells Darkhawk and Portal to track them, while he will catch up. Portal replies that he doesn’t think Darkhawk has flight capabilities and announces that now that he has saved the two of them from harm, he simply wishes to be gone. ‘Wait - please - I have to know about your armor’ Darkhawk calls out.
‘I told you before - I know nothing about the one who looked similar to you that I took parts of it from - except that he tried to kill me…and I killed him’ Portal replies. Darkhawk grabs Portal’s arm and exclaims ‘Listen - I’ve read up on you - your quest for identity - to find where you fit in…you of all people, should understand the agony I go through - having this power - with the danger that comes with it - and not knowing anything about it - what makes it work - where it came from - why I ended up with it!’ he calls out, urgently, reminding Portal that they have both saved each other’s lives, and assuring him he doesn’t owe him anything. ‘I’m asking you - begging you - let me and Spider-Man take you to somebody like his buddies in the Fantastic Four or the Avengers…it could benefit us both. Wouldn’t you like to know more about your powers…how to use them to better do whatever it is you really want?’ Darkhawk asks.
Portal tells Darkhawk that he has made his point. ‘If it won’t take long, I guess I could -’ he begins, ad Darkhawk thanks him, but suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Hold! That armor must be mine!’ Everyone turns, to see a strange being looming over them. He introduces himself as Sleepwalker, and swears by the sacred thoughts of the silent ones, that the armor shall be his….
Blob, Phantazia, Pyro, Sauron, Toad (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)
J Jonah Jameson
Mal (voice only)
This story takes place after X-Factor (1st series) #82.
This story continues in Darkhawk #20 and concludes in Sleepwalker #17.
The hostage situation took place last issue, during which Darkhawk was mind controlled.
Darkhawk previously encountered Portal in Darkhawk #6.
Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)